Animal Kingdom is a hugely underrated park.
It's a beautiful place with interesting things to see, impeccable theming and some fantastic attractions.
Here's a guide to all Animal Kingdom rides and attractions to help you decide what to do when you visit.
In this article
A quick overview
Animal Kingdom is the largest of all of the theme parks in terms of acres but has the least amount of attractions. The park icon is a the big man-made tree called The Tree of Life.
As the park's name implies, there are lots of live animal attractions here, but there are some good non-animal attractions as well (including the 2 best live shows in all of Disney World).
Let's take a look at each section of Animal Kingdom and what attractions are located there.
Animal Kingdom rides and attractions
Safari vehicles that are driven by guides who really do drive (no tracks) and they are very knowledgeable about the animals. As you go, the drivers give you lots of info based on what you see along the ride and sometimes have to stop to wait for animals to clear the path.
Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
Walking tour that allows you to see birds, fish, gorillas and hippos.
Festival of the Lion King
This big, fun, Broadway-style show lasts for 30 minutes and is 1 of the best shows at Disney World. There is lots of music, dancing, stilt walkers and acrobats, featuring music and stories from The Lion King.
Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Expedition Everest is a fantastic roller coaster (my favorite ride at Disney World, in fact). It starts off like a pretty normal coaster and then stops and goes backward before heading forward again on a thrilling ride.
Kali River Rapids
A river raft ride that has a very high chance of soaking you. I really love this ride but many people really dislike it. Watch the video below to see if you think it's something you'll want to do during your trip.
Maharajah Jungle Trek
A walking path through "ruins" that allows you to see tigers, Komodo dragons, giant fruit bats and other exotic animals.
UP! A Great Bird Adventure
This new entertainment experience (which replaces Flights of Wonder) offers guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his furry friend Dug as they discover species of birds from around the world.
This ride takes you on a rough ride through history where you see lots of dinosaurs along the way. I've never taken a ride photo on this ride where I wasn't covering my face.
A jerky, spinning, coaster ride.
Dumbo but with dinosaurs.
Finding Nemo - The Musical
A Broadway-style show featuring super talented performers who sing and control puppet-type versions of the characters. Really great show and I feel like it keeps getting better.
Fossil Fun Games
Carnival games themed for this section.
Play structure that's great for letting little ones run around and burn off some steam.
Donald Duck, Daisy Duck & Goofy (character meet)
Pluto, Launchpad McQuack & Scrooge McDuck (character meet)
It's Tough to be a Bug!
This 3D show is inside of the Tree of Life and features characters from "A Bug's Life." As you're looking at The Tree of Life from the front of the park, the entrance for this show is located just to the right side, near the paths that you'd take to DinoLand, U.S.A.
Discovery Island Trails
These trails go all around Discovery Island (hence the name, right?) and you have a chance to see Galapagos tortoises, African crested porcupines, lemurs and tamarins.
Kevin (character meet)
Timon (character meet)
Russell & Dug (character meet)
Pocahontas (character meet)
Meet Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost (character meet)
DiVine is a vine-covered character performed by a performance artist. She's mesmerizing to watch. Check the daily times guide so you know when to look for her.
Rafiki's Planet Watch
Learn how to draw favorite characters from the Lion King including Simba, Zazu, Pumbaa, Timon and others.
A petting zoo area with animals like goats, sheep, donkeys, cows and pigs.
A behind-the-scenes look at the care provided for the animals in the park. What you will see will vary depending on what's going on that day but could include watching surgeons operate on animals, experts presenting various wildlife and veterinarians who are available to answer questions.
Outdoor trails in the Rafiki's Planet Watch section where you can see cotton-top tamarins.
Wildlife Express Train
This train departs every 5-7 minutes (though lines to board the train can be lengthy) to take people to visit the Rafiki's Planet Watch section.
Na'Vi River Journey
A gentle boat ride through the bioluminescent rain forest complete with a spectacular encounter with a Na’vi shaman.
Avatar Flight of Passage
Unlike any other attraction at Walt Disney World, guests mount their own "virtual banshee" to soar above the Valley of Mo'ara.
Tree of Life Awakenings
At night you can watch the Tree of Life "awaken" and come to life with flickering fireflies and magical animals. This show uses the same projection technology as Celebrate the Magic and has 4 different shows that rotate through the evening. From 5/27/19 through 9/30/19, the awakening will feature animation and music from The Lion King.
Rivers of Light
Dining at Animal Kingdom
We have a dining guide below to help you decide on dining options at Animal Kingdom.
The pros and cons of all Animal Kingdom restaurants
There are a few great places to eat at Animal Kingdom, including a character dining location that's a good option when others seem to be fully booked up months in advance.
WDW Prep Members
Level 2 WDW Prep Members have touring plan tools to put together their own plans. The attractions indicate height requirements, if it's a good use of FastPass+, illustrations of ride vehicles so you can see how many people will fit (especially handy if the kids outnumber the adults), and when to visit each attraction.
And as you build your touring plans, they are grouped by hour (for the first 3 hours) and then your whole plan is plotted on a map at the bottom of the page so you can see how it all lays out.